Synopses & Reviews
- At age fourteen, she swam twenty-six miles from Catalina Island to the California mainland.
- At ages fifteen and sixteen, she broke the men's and women's world records for swimming the English Channel; a thirty-three-mile crossing in nine hours, thirty-six minutes.
- At eighteen, she swam the twenty-mile Cook Strait between North and South Islands of New Zealand, was caught on a massive swell, found herself after five hours farther from the finish than when she started, and still completed the swim.
- She was the first to swim the Strait of Magellan, the most treacherous three-mile stretch of water in the world.
- The first to swim the Bering Strait (the channel that forms the boundary line between the United States and Russia) from Alaska to Siberia, thereby opening the U.S.-Soviet border for the first time in forty-eight years, swimming in thirty-eight-degree water in four-foot waves without a shark cage, wet suit, or lanolin grease.
- The first to swim the Cape of Good Hope (a shark emerged from the kelp, its jaws wide open, and was shot as it headed straight for her).
In this extraordinary book, the world's most extraordinary distance swimmer writes about her emotional and spiritual need to swim and about the almost mystical act of swimming itself.
Lynne Cox trained hard from age nine, working with an Olympic coach, swimming five to twelve miles each day in the Pacific. At age eleven, she swam even when hail made the water "like cold tapioca pudding" and was told she would one day swim the English Channel. Four years later (not yet out of high school) she broke the men's and women's world records for the Channel swim. In 1987, she swam the Bering Strait from America to the Soviet Union; a feat that, according to Gorbachev, helped diminish tensions between Russia and the United States.
Lynne Cox's relationship with the water is almost mystical: she describes swimming as flying, and remembers swimming at night through flocks of flying fish the size of mockingbirds, remembers being escorted by a pod of dolphins that came to her off New Zealand.
She has a photographic memory of her swims. She tells us how she conceived of, planned, and trained for each, and re-creates for us the experience of swimming (almost) unswimmable bodies of water, including her most recent astonishing one-mile swim to Antarctica in thirty-two-degree water without a wet suit. She tells us how, through training and by taking advantage of her naturally plump physique, she is able to create more heat in the water than she loses.
Lynne Cox has swum the Mediterranean, the three-mile Strait of Messina, under the ancient bridges of Kunning Lake, below the old summer palace of the emperor of China in Beijing. Breaking records no longer interests her. She writes about the ways in which these swims instead became vehicles for personal goals, how she sees herself as the lone swimmer among the waves, pitting her courage against the odds, drawn to dangerous places and treacherous waters that, since ancient times, have challenged sailors in ships.
"Even though readers know she survived to tell the tale, it's a thrilling, awesome and well-written story." Publishers Weekly
"An awesome study in immersion from long-distance swimmer Cox....An otherworldly existence brought hugely to life." Kirkus Reviews
"Her wide-eyed idealism may seem a little corny at first, but by the end we're rooting for her, wondering if brave and mostly solitary acts...don't bring us together after all." Booklist
The famous long-distance swimmer, known for her ability to withstand cold temperatures that might kill others, now tells the fascinating story of how she braved the frigid waters of Antarctica.
Newly Illustrated with Photos and Maps Throughout (format to separate this phrase from copy)
Here is the joyful, inspirational memoir of swimmer Lynne Cox. By age sixteen, she had broken all records for English Channel swims, so she set her goals even higher: She became the first to swim the Strait of Magellan, narrowly escaped a shark attack off the Cape of Good Hope, and was cheered across the twenty-mile Cook Strait of New Zealand by dolphins. Her daring eventually led her to the thirty-eight-degree waters of the Bering Strait, which she crossed in her usual outfit -- just a swimsuit, cap, and goggles. She has even swum (LYNN - right verb??) a mile in the iceberg-choked waters of the Antarctic. With a poet's eye for detail, Cox shares the beauty of her time in the water in this new classic of sports memoir.
"[Cox has] done things the rest of us only imagine--and she's written a book that helps us to imagine them with clarity and wonder."-- The Boston Globe
"More than the story of the greatest open-water swimmer, Swimming to Antarctica is a portrait of rare and relentless drive. . . .Gripping." -- Sports Illustrated
"A tale of remarkable physical prowess and heart." -- Vogue
"Fetching and pitch-perfect . . . Full of perilous, preposterous-if-they-weren't-true scenes." - Outside Magazine
"An instant classic of adventure writing." -- Minneapolis Star-Tribune
"The only things more impressive than her heroics are her magnanimous spirit and ability to bring people together." -- Miami Herald
"Even a cursory read leaves one shivering for a warm towel." -- Entertainment Weekly
"A triumph of a positive outlook, hefty preparation, and raw courage." -- The Economist
"So compelling and immediate that even a non-swimmer can almost feel as if he'd been a participant." -- Philadelphia Inquirer
LYNNE COX has set records all over the world for open-water swimming. She was named Los Angeles Times Woman of the Year, inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 2000, and honored with a lifetime achievement award from the University of California--Santa Barbara. She lives in Los Alamitos, California.
About the Author
Lynne Cox was born in Boston, Massachusetts, and grew up in Los Alamitos, California. She received her B.A. from the University of California at Santa Barbara. Cox was named Los Angeles Times Woman of the Year in 1975, inducted into the Swimming Hall of Fame in 2000, and honored with a lifetime achievement award from U.C. Santa Barbara. Her articles have appeared in The New Yorker, Los Angeles Times Magazine, and European Car Magazine. Cox lives in Los Alamitos, California.
Table of Contents
A cold day in August -- Beginnings -- Leaving home -- Open water -- Twenty-six miles across the sea -- English channel -- White cliffs of Dover -- Homecoming -- Invitation to Egypt -- Lost in the fog -- Cook Strait, New Zealand -- Human research subject -- The Strait of Magellan -- Around the Cape of Good Hope -- Around the world in eighty days -- Glacier bay -- Facing the bomb -- The A-team -- Mind-blowing -- Debate -- Across the Bering Strait -- Success -- Siberia's gold medal -- Swimming to Antarctica.